Sunday, July 24, 2011

Gridiron Trail Rush: A Football + Trail Race Mash-up

While the NFL’s lockout and contract negotiations have keep football fans preoccupied, the college season is just around the corner. Metro Atlanta is home to die-hard fans from SEC schools and beyond just itching for college football kick-off.

So why am I writing about football? Well, there’s a new trail race next month that takes a unique spin on blending a 5K trail run with a football-themed obstacle course. But the competition isn’t limited to the course – declare your team allegiance when you register and gain a portion of the proceeds for your school. The more runners declared for your school, the more money earned. For example, a portion of the proceeds from Georgia fan runners will go to the Arch Foundation.

The Gridiron Trail Run takes place August 13 in Conyers at the Georgia International Horse Park. Some of the more unique challenges you’ll find on the race course include:

• An entry tunnel that serves as the starting line
• Holding a football in your hand during the race
• Stepping through tires
• Dodging tackle dummies
• Running through mud

In true football style, there’s an after-party with food, drinks, music and alumni tents. If this race appeals to you, register before August 1 to avoid the $10 increase in the entry fee. Running with a group of fans? There’s a discount for groups with more than 5 registrants at a time. Details are available at the Gridiron Trail Rush event site.

Looking for a running route close to your neighborhood or office? Check out Just enter your zip code and links to dozens of nearby routes appear.

Editor's note: Photo courtesy of Gridiron Trail Rush event site.

Editor's Note: Photo courtesy of Gridiron Trail Rush event site.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tips to Survive Summer Running

It’s nearing the middle of July and the summer heat is unforgiving. While the treadmill is an option during hot weather, I’m just not a fan of running inside. So what’s a runner to do? Consider these tips for keeping your run safe and sensible during summer.

Run in the morning: Early morning runs can help you escape the intense conditions of summer heat. In fact, temperatures can be 20-degrees cooler at 6 a.m. vs. 12:00 p.m. If you do choose to run in the morning, partner with a friend (or dog) and wear reflective gear to stay visible to cars.

Hydrate before bed: Your hydration routine should actually start the night before. The August issue of Runner’s World recommends drinking 20-ounces of water three hours before heading to bed. Why? According to Runner’s World, it helps boost blood-plasma flow and enhances your body’s ability to cool itself during your run.

Cool off with a frozen drink: Here’s another interesting tip from Runner’s World I never considered. Sipping a frozen drink an hour before your run can help lower your core body temperature.

Stay hydrated during your run: Maintaining proper hydration helps keep your body safe – literally. Heat stroke is a potentially deadly condition. Consider drinking water every 15 minutes during your run to replace fluids lost from sweat.

Run a shaded route: Find a tree-lined sidewalk or path for you run. Escaping direct exposure to the sun makes a difference. Wear a visor (and not a hat) to keep your face shaded for those periods when you are in the sun.

For more tips and information, check out Runner’s World. Here’s a route through Decatur that offers plenty of options for shade (courtesy of Big Peach Running and Nike Run Club). You can pick up a copy of the route map at the Decatur Big Peach store.

Decatur 4-Mile Run:
• Start at Big Peach. Facing E. Trinity, turn left and cross the railroad tracks onto S. Candler.
• Take a right onto Green St. and continue through the nature path.
• Cross over S. McDonough and head down Oakview Rd.
• Stay straight on Oakview and veer right onto E. Lake Dr.
• Go underneath the bridge and turn right on E. Parkwood Rd.
• Turn right on Upland.
• Turn right on W. Ponce de Leon Ave.
• Turn right on W. Trinity and head back to Big Peach.